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Elastic micro high frequency probe

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Elastic micro high frequency probe


An elastic micro high frequency probe includes a conductor, which includes a stationary body and a movable body. The stationary body has a conductive terminal, a contacting end, and a guider. The movable body has a conductive terminal, a spring mechanism, and a guider. The spring mechanism is connected to the stationary body and to one conductive terminal. The second guider connects to the spring mechanism in such a manner that the compression direction of the spring mechanism is confined by a guiding rail. Since the width of the spring mechanism is not limited by the first and second guiders, the width of the spring mechanism can be enlarged to maximize within limited space. Therefore, the HF probe as a whole can have shortest length while acquiring the predetermined total length of the elastic stroke, such that the transmission performance of the high frequency signals can be effectively enhanced.
Related Terms: Spring Mechanism

Inventors: Yi-Lung Lee, Chih-Chung Chen, Tsung-Yi Chen, Horng-Kuang Fan
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120299612 - Class: 32475507 (USPTO) - 11/29/12 - Class 324 


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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120299612, Elastic micro high frequency probe.

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FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a vertical probing mechanism, and more specifically to an elastic micro high frequency (“high frequency” hereinafter is referred to as “HF”) probe.

BACKGROUND

FIG. 1 shows a conventional vertical probing unit 1, which must include a spring mechanism 2 in order to perform elastic compression characteristics and to provide cushioning when a probe 3, which is connecting to one end of the spring mechanism 2, contacts to a pad 9 of a device under test (hereinafter referring to as “DUT”). In such a manner, a better contact performance between the probe 3 and the pad 9 can be achieved while preventing the probe 3 or the DUT from being damaged caused by an excessive contacting pressure.

FIG. 2 shows another conventional vertical probing unit 5 having a similar spring mechanism, but differing from the above-mentioned spring mechanism by including a first spring 6 and a second spring 7. An outer end of the first spring 6 is connecting to a probe 6a, and an outer end of the second spring 7 is connecting to a shaft 7a. In other words, the probe 6a and the shaft 7a of the vertical probing unit 5 are position changeable upon pressed, in order to be adapted for different usage environments. Such vertical probing unit can achieve the same performances as the above-mentioned probing unit 1.

Although the conventional probing units can fulfill the objective of the functional testing, there are still some drawbacks, especially when it comes to the transmission of HF signals, remained to be overcome. Generally speaking, a probing unit having good HF signal transmission performance enhances the precision and quality of DUT testing. However, those conventional probing units have the same or similar characteristic in that the spring mechanisms thereof are confined in a barrel having inner walls. As shown in FIG. 1, the spring mechanism 2 is located between two parallel side walls of a protective rod 4, while the first spring 6 and the second spring 7, as shown in FIG. 2, are located in the barrel 8. Thereby, the width W of the spring mechanisms is confined. This becomes disadvantageous since the performance of the probing unit is significantly affected when the size thereof becomes smaller and smaller. This is so because the protective rod 4 or the barrel 8 occupies relatively a small amount of space within a limited aperture of a jig. Moreover, the conventional elastic probe is movable only in the vertical direction. Such design is not suitable for use when requiring to laterally scrape the surface oxide layer off a planar pad of the DUT, and thus the contact resistance may become too large to undergo such type of testing procedures.

Therefore, our expectation is to enlarge the width of the spring mechanism to the maximum value under the constraining requirements of the limiting outer diameter D, i.e. the outer diameter of the protective rod or the barrel, and the restriction of the yield strength of the material, so as to achieve the best compression performance, i.e. the best working stroke, while shortening the total length of the spring mechanism. In such a manner, the inductance of the signal transmission can be lowered, so as to increase the bandwidth. Furthermore, it is desirable to control the movement of the spring through changes in structural design to meet the requirements of different DUTs. For example, if the tip of the probe can be configured to laterally scrape the surface oxide layer off the planar pad during testing, the contact resistance thereof can be more stable to achieve a better testing quality compared with the conventional elastic probe contacting the planar pad in a vertical-movement-only manner.

SUMMARY

OF THE INVENTION

Therefore, an objective of the present invention is to provide an elastic micro HF probe, which has improved working stroke and enhanced transmission performance of the HF signals without enlarging the length of the spring mechanism.

To achieve the above and other objectives, the present invention provides an elastic micro HF probe including a conductor. The conductor has a first conductive terminal and a second conductive terminal. The micro HF probe is characterized in that the conductor includes a stationary body and a movable body. The stationary body includes the first conductive terminal, a contacting end, and a first guider formed between the first conductive terminal and the contacting end. The movable body includes the second conductive terminal, a spring mechanism, and a second guider. The second conductive terminal is located at an outside of the contacting end of the stationary body. The spring mechanism has one end connecting to the stationary body and an another end connecting to the second conductive terminal. The spring mechanism has a width wider than that of the first guider. The second guider connects to the spring mechanism and matches up with the first guider to confine a compression direction of the spring mechanism.

In one embodiment, the stationary body has an upper clamping plate and a lower clamping plate, and the upper and lower clamping plates connect to each other. There is a constant distance kept between the upper and lower clamping plates. At least one of the upper and lower clanmping plates has a guiding rail defining the first guider. The stationary body has an end, at which the upper and lower clamping plates connect to each other, and the aforementioned end of the stationary body is formed with a through hole. The through hole has an inner wall defining the contacting end. The spring mechanism of the movable body is located between the upper and lower clamping plates, and the spring mechanism connects to a probing member which is penetrating through the through hole. The probing member has a distal end defining the second conductive terminal. The second guider comprises at least two guiding bosses connecting to the spring mechanism, and the guiding bosses are located at two sides of the guiding rail of the clamping plate.

In one embodiment, the spring mechanism of the movable body comprises a plurality of inter-connecting cantilevers, and the width of the spring mechanism defined as a distance between both ends of at least the cantilever adjacent to the guiding rail is wider than the width of the guiding rail of the clamping plate.

In one embodiment, the elastic micro HF probe further comprises at least one conductive plate. The conductive plate is disposed on a surface of one of the upper and lower clamping plates.

In one embodiment, the stationary body is a plate. The plate has a guiding groove defining the first guider. The spring mechanism of the movable body includes an upper spring and a lower spring located on two sides of the plate, respectively. The upper and lower springs inter-connect to a conductive shaft at their distal ends. The conductive shaft has a distal end defining the second conductive terminal.

In one embodiment, the guiding groove of the stationary body has a closed end and an open end. The guiding groove has an inner wall, which defines the contacting end, at the open end. The conductive shaft to which the distal ends of the upper and lower springs of the movable body connect penetrates through the open end of the guiding groove.

In one embodiment, the first guider is a winded shaft and a winded guiding groove.

The present invention further provides an elastic micro HF probe including a conductor. The conductor has a first conductive terminal and a second conductive terminal. The probe is characterized in that the conductor has a stationary body and a movable body. The stationary body includes a first contacting end, a second contacting end, and a first guider located between the first and second contacting ends. The movable body includes the first conductive terminal, the second conductive terminal, a spring mechanism, and a second guider. The spring mechanism has an end connecting to the first conductive terminal, which is located at an outside of the first contacting end of the stationary body, and an another end connecting to the second conductive terminal, which is located at an outside of the second contacting end of the stationary body. The second guider connects the spring mechanism and matches up with the first guider to confine a compression direction of the spring mechanism. Furthermore, the spring mechanism has a width larger than that of the first guider.

In one embodiment, the elastic micro HF probe comprises a separation element connecting to the stationary body and the movable body, and the first guider of the stationary body is divided into two parts by the separation element. The spring mechanism of the movable body is also divided into a first spring mechanism and a second spring mechanism by the separation element. The first spring mechanism is located in one part of the first guider, and the second spring mechanism is located in the other part of the first guider.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating a conventional vertical probing unit;

FIG. 2 is a diagram illustrating another conventional vertical probing unit;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a HF probe of a first preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a partially-profiled perspective view of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a lateral view illustrating a HF probe before compressed;

FIG. 6 is a lateral view illustrating a HF probe pressed against and contacting a DUT;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a HF probe of a second preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a partially-profiled perspective view of FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a HF probe of a third preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a HF probe of a fourth preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 11 is a partially-profiled perspective view of FIG. 10;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of a HF probe of a fifth preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 13 is a bottom view of FIG. 12;

FIG. 14 is a perspective view of a HF probe of a sixth preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 15 is a partially-profiled perspective view of FIG. 14;

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of a HF probe of a seventh preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 17 is a perspective view of a HF probe of an eighth preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 18 is a perspective view of a HF probe of a ninth preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 19 is a partially-profiled perspective view of FIG. 18;

FIG. 20 is a perspective view illustrating a winded shaft as exemplify of a guiding rail;

FIG. 21 is a perspective view illustrating a winded guiding groove as exemplify of a guiding rail;

FIG. 22 is a planar view illustrating a guiding plate with rectangular-shaped guiding bores.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIGS. 3-5 show an elastic micro HF probe 10, having an outer diameter D that is the same as that of the above-mentioned conventional probe, of a first preferred embodiment of the present invention. Under such dimensional requirement, the HF probe of the present embodiment has a conductor 12 adapted to transmit HF testing signals of a tester to a corresponding DUT. The conductor 12 is made by a lithography etching process to form a multi-layered structure having a stationary body 14 and a movable body 16. Since the lithography etching process is a known skill, it will not be illustrated in detail hereafter. The structure of the conductor 12, on the other hand, is described hereinafter, in which:

The stationary body 14 has an upper clamping plate 141 and a lower clamping plate 142 connecting to each other at their front and rear ends, and there is a constant distance therebetween. In the present invention, the upper and lower clamping plates have the same structural characteristics, and therefore, only the upper clamping plate 141 is being described as exemplification for the sake of convenience or brevity for illustration in this and the following embodiments.

The upper clamping plate 141 has a first wide portion 141a, a guiding rail 141b as exemplification of a first guider, and a second wide portion 141c connected in sequence. The guiding rail 141b has a width d. The stationary body 14 defines the conductive terminal 12a of the conductor 12 at the front end thereof where the upper and lower clamping plates connect to each other. The first conductive terminal 12a is used to electrically connect to a signal transmitting channel (not shown) of the tester. The stationary body 14 has a through hole 143 formed at the rear end thereof where the upper and lower clamping plates connect to each other, in which the through hole 143 is pre-made during the lithography etching process. The through hole 143 has an inner wall defining a contacting end 143a.

The movable body 16 has a spring mechanism elastically deformable between the upper clamping plate 141 and the lower clamping plate 142. The spring mechanism of the present embodiment is composed of several inter-connecting cantilevers 161, each of which is composed of a horizontal section 161a and a vertical section 161b. A distance D between two ends of the horizontal section 161a of the cantilever 161 is exactly the same as the outer diameter of the HF probe 10, and such distance D is bigger than the width d of the guiding rail 141b.

The spring mechanism has an end connecting to a position at close proximity to the front end of the stationary body 14, and another end of the spring mechanism integrally connecting to a probing member 162, which penetrating through the through hole 143 of the rear end of the stationary body 14. The probing member 162 has a distal end defining the second conductive terminal 12b of the conductor 12. As shown in FIG. 5, the second conductive terminal 12b is located at an outside of the stationary body 14 and thus is adapted to contact a DUT 60. In addition, the probing member 162 and the inner wall of the through hole 143 has only a small gap therebetween. In other words, as soon as there is a slight offset of the probing member 162 while the probing member 162 is pressed against the DUT 60, a side surface of the probing member 162 is prone to contact the inner wall of the through hole 143, which defines the contacting end 143a, so as to electrically connect the probing member 162 with the stationary body 14.

Furthermore, the movable body 16 has a second guider composed of two guiding bosses 163, which connect to the cantilever 161 and are located at two lateral sides of the guiding rail 141b of the stationary body 14, respectively. The guiding bosses 163 serve to prevent the spring mechanism from deformation in lateral directions upon being compressed, while the upper clamping plate 141 and the lower clamping plate 142 serve to prevent the spring mechanism from deformation in vertical directions. Thereby, the spring mechanism is well confined to undergo a stable compressing deformation, so as to control the slipping dynamic performance of the second conductive terminal 12b upon being pressed.

In the above-mentioned structure, the movable body 16 of the HF probe 10 is properly confined, and each of the cantilevers 161 can perform the compressing deformation more easily. This is so because the horizontal section 161a of each cantilever 161 of the spring mechanism has a length that is the same as the outer diameter D of the barrel of the probing unit 1, 5 shown in FIG. 1 or FIG. 2. More specifically, upon having the limitation such that the biggest outer diameter of the HF probe 10 is required to be the same as that of the conventional probing unit 1,5, the spring mechanism of the present invention can, given shortened structural height, achieve the same compression space, i.e. same amount of compression as the predetermined compression amount of the probe of the conventional probing unit 1,5. In other words, a distance between the front and rear ends of the stationary body 14 can be reduced, and the total length of the HF probe 10 can be decreased as well.

When the probing member 162 of the HF probe 10 contacts the DUT 60 in such a manner that the probing member 162 is offset to abut against the inner wall of the through hole 143 of the stationary body 14 as shown in FIG. 6, the HF testing signals coming from the tester can be transmitted to the DUT 60 sequentially via the first conductive terminal 12a, the stationary body 14, and the second conductive terminal 12b, rather than through another route going through the movable body 16 including multiple cantilevers 161. This is so because the signals are selectively transmitted through a shorter route, although there are two signal transmission routes between the first conductive terminal 12a and the second conductive terminal 12b, in which one of the routes passes through the stationary body 14 and the other route passes through the movable body 16. In other words, the inductance of the HF probe 10 can be decreased while increasing the transmission bandwidth since the signal transmission route is shortened.

It is further noticeable that, by controlling the areas of the first wide portion 141a and the second wide portion 141c, the objective of tuning the impedance matching of the HF probe 10 can be achieved.

FIGS. 7-8 show an elastic micro HF probe 20 of a second preferred embodiment of the present invention, in which the probe has a similar multi-layered structure as that of the first preferred embodiment, i.e. having an upper clamping plate 22, a lower clamping plate 24, a spring mechanism 26, and a probing member 28, yet there are still differences found between the first and the second preferred embodiments, which are described as follow:



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120299612 A1
Publish Date
11/29/2012
Document #
13477056
File Date
05/22/2012
USPTO Class
32475507
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
01R1/067
Drawings
15


Spring Mechanism


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